Imagine Self http://imagineself.com find yourself, know yourself, become yourself Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:15:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Remembering Mercy http://imagineself.com/2017/09/remembering-mercy/ http://imagineself.com/2017/09/remembering-mercy/#comments Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:15:09 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=6100 What will you remember at the end of the day…at the end of your life?

 Life as a passion.  Life as a pleasure. Life as a satisfaction.

OR

Life as a contribution. Life as an impact. Life as mercy.

I just spent time with my 97 year old aunt.  She is my godmother and I am named after her. I have probably seen her for the last time. I held her hand and told her how much I loved her and what a wonderful aunt she had been. I was saying goodbye. She smiled.

Lessons from My Aunt

What did I learn from the brief last visit with my aunt? I learned of the suffering of aging.

  • Physical Vanity: Yes, it is shocking to grow old visibly. She was not vain in her incredible beauty when she was young, but in her elderhood she was appalled at what had changed. The sagging flesh with its deep wrinkles. The thin hair lacking lustre. The spots. “Look at me, Lynn” she cried. Her smile was still alive and loving.
  • Aging biology: Nothing tastes good or the way she remembers it. Taste buds have worn out. Her fingers are cold and blue as her warm blood no longer pulses to her extremities. 
  • Physical pain and immobility. Chronic pain and dependence on pain killers due to severe arthritis. She can’t move on her own, barely able to reach for her ice tea. Unable to turn over in bed. Her rage at the loss of power and comfort in her own body.
  • Agonizing boredom. She used to read a novel a day. She loved her TV soap opera. No more reading. TV is just distracting noise.
  • She longs for death but clings to life.

But what saddened me and concerned me is her lack of a sense of the meaning of her life. At 97 she doesn’t know how to reflect on her years as a life of contribution, impact and mercy. She is unaware of the extraordinary impact she made on so many lives. She is not celebrating her contribution as she lies awake in the dark at the end of her merciful and good life. She bemoans her existence. She no longer experiences passion or pleasure or satisfaction. She does not feel her own goodness.

 My Aunt’s Contribution, Impact and Mercy…

My aunt made a very special contribution to over 300 individuals. She was their foster mother. She lovingly fostered over 300 newborns until they were adopted. 300!!  I urged her to remember each one of them in her nighttime suffering and loneliness.

I am filled with awe at this contribution and I am sure you are.  All the nighttime feedings, the diaper changes, the appointments with the pediatricians. All her joy at buying the outfits they wore to meet their new parents.

What is sad is that my aunt only thought of her fostering as her passion, her pleasure and her satisfaction. She has no sense of her contribution or her impact. She finds no mercy in her mercy.

In many ways, I witnessed and learned about the gifts of love and mercy from my aunt. I loved being with her and her babies. My children loved to visit her and her babies. Being with her and her babies was being in the presence of extraordinary love.

In this last visit, her suffering taught me that our passions, pleasures and satisfactions will not comfort our own sufferings. It is the memories of our unselfish contributions and our merciful impact on others that will offer comfort and joy in our last reflections on our lives.

A Gift from My Aunt

I want my aunt’s sorry state to offer you a gift…to impact your life. You must learn to celebrate your contribution and your impact on others every day. You must receive mercy.

Keep a mercy journal where you write down what you did for others during the day. Little and simple mercies like smiles or letting another driver pull in front of you. Big and complex mercies like listening with compassion to another’s sorrow.  You have had impact. You have made a contribution. You have been merciful. Write it down.

In Christianity, there are the nine Beatitudes or Blessings.  The fifth and middle beatitude is “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.“ My aunt gave exquisite mercy to these little human beings. She gave it abundantly. But could she receive mercy? 

Did she ever think about giving and receiving mercy? Do you?

So let her make an impact on your life. Keep and treasure your mercy memories.

To me, mercy is unconditional love. When you are merciful you have a positive impact. You make a positive contribution to another’s life. You make them feel good and feel their own goodness. You support their personal destiny.  You see them, listen to them, touch them. You forgive, not from power but from love.

Don’t forget to record the mercies you received. 

Practice remembering mercy every day.

I wrote the above in early June. My aunt passed away on the day of the Solar Eclipse in the home of her daughter surrounded by grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I wonder if her foster children, those who were blessed with her mercy and devotion, had a strange sense of loss that day.

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The Mantra of Life http://imagineself.com/2017/07/6081/ Tue, 25 Jul 2017 22:30:48 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=6081 I have a little poster I made and taped to my closet door where I can see it when I open my eyes in the morning. I call it the Mantra of Life. It says…

I am safe. 

I am calm.

I am awake.

I am nourished.

I am Freedom.

I am overflowing with Light.

I am overflowing with Warmth.

I am overflowing with Tone.

I am overflowing with Force.

I am Love.

You can download it by clicking the link here:

FG-Mantra of Life

(When you get to the page click the image and it will pop up in another page for downloading and printing.)

My seven-year old grandson, Edon, spent the night last week. I saw him curled up in his sleeping bag in the morning looking at the poster and asked him what he was doing. He responded by reading out loud the words on my poster (he struggled with nourished). Then he stood up and said “I am Freedom. I am Love. I like that!!!” I hope he never forgets that feeling. 

So print the poster, print several. (Or create your own version!) Put it where you can see it around your home and at work. Put it where your children and grandchildren can see it. Talk about it. Ask yourself and others what was missing in the day and why. What you each want to focus on and why. What you want to celebrate and why.  You will find freedom and love dancing in your soul.

You are capable of living fully in these eight qualities of life, but it will need your attention and an attitude of self-awareness. Remember always what Shakespeare’s Juliet says “My bounty is as boundless as the sea,” Your freedom is as boundless as the sky. Your love is as boundless as the sea.

Here is why the “Mantra of Life” is so powerful.

When you are Freedom you experience equanimity in body and soul as a state of being. Imagine your soul: your thinking, feeling and willing functioning in a state of being safe, calm, awake and nourished. Imagine your body: your immune system feeling safe in confronting any threat of disease; your endocrine system feeling a centered calm and lacking any agitation or anxiety; your nervous system feeling rested, aware and awake not knowing any over-stimulation or boredom; and your digestive system feeling well-fed and no hunger.

I often ask my clients if they felt safe, calm, awake and nourished in their early years which can bring to the surface the root of the challenges to freedom in their well-being, their relationships and in their work.

When you are Love, life is overflowing. Eros is not about sexual love… it is about enlivening love. Life from a spiritual perspective arises from the dance of the Four Life Ethers: Light, Warmth, Tone and Force. Light illuminates your being with Divine Beauty. Warmth radiates your being with Cosmic Energy. Tone resonates your being with Universal Harmonies. Force generates your being with Earthly Presence. Think of the beauty, energy, harmony and presence you bring to all of your life…this is enlivening love.

At our core, you and I overflow with these ethers, but we forget this. When remembering how we overflow with the Life Ethers we become flowing Love. Imagine this feeling of being Love. Oh, how we need this in our times of hatred and fear. Here you can contemplate your childhood, your relationships and your work and see if light, warmth, tone and force are living in these aspects of your life. If not, love is weak or absent and fear and hatred can take its place.

Using the Mantra of Life as a meditation can be deeply restorative. It can bring a new consciousness, compassion and courage to your daily life, the healing of your past and the empowerment of your future. Imagine organizing and designing your life using these eight qualities.

Even organizations and communities can use the Mantra of Life to keep the organization/community, its mission and its coworkers, alive with Freedom and Love. I have a workshop, Nurturing Aliveness, available for your group. If you would like to know more about this workshop email me.

Just for fun… I have a mug available on Zazzle that has “I am safe, calm, awake, nourished” on it for your morning coffee and your afternoon tea. https://www.zazzle.com/imagine_self

 

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The Nine Contexts of Your Outer Life http://imagineself.com/2017/07/control-and-freedom/ Mon, 03 Jul 2017 15:00:52 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=6072 Imagine having control and freedom in the nine contexts of your outer life.

Now is the time for attending to the control and freedom of your outer life.

I have just started working with a trainer at a local gym. 30 minutes twice a week. One session on my lower body and one on my upper body. I really appreciate this division of focus. It feels right, balanced and easier for me to do.

When you imagine yourself, the same benefit of division holds true. If Christmas and the Holy Nights are the time of year we want to devote to a deeper exploration of the control, freedom and values of our inner life, it seems to me that the time around the summer solstice and the celebration of independence is the time to reflect on our outer life.

Last year, I shared suggestions for this task of reflecting on our outer lives. (I’ve edited last year’s post, hopefully making it better.) Maybe last year you felt this was a valuable activity, but only thought about it. Maybe this year you might do some journaling.

It is ironic that the more you can control your life the more freedom you find in living it. This post offers a 4th of July exercise for finding both control and freedom in every context of your life.

Control supports and encourages moral freedom. Freedom supports and encourages compassionate and creative control. Both require intelligent observation and understanding. We need to form a right relationship to both.

Control comes first. Think of a baby learning to control her hands so she can freely grasp what she wants.

What are the limits of your control and your freedom in the context of your outer life? Of your inner life? Do you want to increase your capacity to control so you can have more freedom? I do.

We need to control our thinking so we can find the freedom to imagine and develop wisdom in regard to the contexts of our outer life. We need to control our feeling life so we can awaken equanimity and freedom from reactivity. We need to control our will life of intentions and behaviors so we can freely choose our actions and our goals in each context.

How much control do you desire? How much freedom do you seek? This brings up the challenge of having clear values.  It’s all about you and your relationship to your individual values, your ability to control your life and your freedom in living with authenticity. No one can teach you what to control, how to be free or impose values on your soul. It’s up to you. You can seek out guidance, but no one can dictate or judge if you are to be free.

Control — The Path to Freedom

A Yearly Review of Your Outer Life

Sometimes control seems impossible, but if we break life into distinct contexts and actively think about each one, living comes under greater, better, wiser control and your freedom of choice grows and matures. Your first step to control is to make a list of the contexts of your life.  I suggest a number of contexts below.

If you do context-reflections once a year, every season or every day, you will begin to experience moral freedom. When you move from vague awareness to conscious experience to a clearly articulated thought picture of each context, you will find a glorious freedom emerging.  The dynamic balance between how the contexts shape you and how you shape your contexts will become more stable and creative.

Building a right relationship to your outer life begins with noticing.  If you pay attention, give each context a few minutes of attention, you will notice things. Write down what you notice. Then start asking questions. Write them down. Then notice what you feel about each. Write about your feelings.Then notice how you would like to change or evolve your relationship to each context. This is the path to freedom.

Then go back over all you have written and learn about your values. Be willing to be surprised.

You will establish a meaningful consciousness of each context and how it forms the setting for your life and for your growth and development.

Reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly in each one. Look at the thoughts you have, the feelings you have, and the intentions you have regarding each context.

Sit with your journal and reflect on the year so far. I have included questions to prompt your reflections. Have a “Sharing the Year So Far”  conversation with a friend, your partner, your child, your coach or therapist.

(Disclaimer: On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest attention and 1 being serious neglect) I give myself scores between 2 and 7.  I’ve got a long way to go, especially with finances.)

The Contexts

  • WORLD – What world events impacted your inner life? Did you give serious thought to any event, forming opinions that altered your sense of self, the world, the future?
  • NATIONAL POLITICS — 2017 brought new awareness to the impact of politics and the determination and protection of rights. How does politics concern you? How do you relate to those who lead, represent, legislate and protect your individuality and your values?
  • NATURE – How did the weather impact your inner life? Did you spend enough time in Nature this year? Do you have a pet? Do you have a garden? Indoor plants? Do you look at the stars?
  • RELATIONSHIPS – What relationship events impacted your thoughts, feelings and behaviors? Did anyone die? Did you make any new friends? Did a stranger change your life?
  • HEALTH – Were you healthy? Did you change your diet or exercise? What about sleep? Sex? Anxiety?
  • CULTURE – What books did you read? Movies? Concerts? Internet?  Did you take any classes? How did these cultural experiences change your inner life?
  • FINANCES – Did your financial life change? Did you pay attention to your budget? Did you have productive conversations about your financial life?
  • SPACE/ PLACE – Our physical environments have a huge impact on our sense of self.  Did anything change? Is your environment more nurturing, more challenging?
  • WORK – Recollect your work over the year.  Were there changes? How was your work successful? Did you fail at anything?

Deeper Reflections

Now, if you wish, begin to imagine using other questions. If you are inspired, go deep with wisdom-seeking attention. You will find control and freedom.

  • Choose one or two contexts and reflect on your life and your soul in the context.  Spend a few minutes writing about your engagement…or your neglect with the context.  Don’t judge. Explore and reflect.
  • Which context is the one you feel in the most control? The least control? Are there contexts that you don’t care about?
  • Or take a specific question and ask it of each context: Is there a reason to celebrate in this context? Is there a need to change or a need to comfort? Who can help you this context?
  • Where do you find regret, anxiety, despair, overwhelm?
  • Where do you want to focus your will to do more, experience more, change more?
  • Which context do you want to reframe? How can each context improve?
  • In an earlier post, I wrote about the mantra, “I am safe. I am calm. I am awake. I am nourished.”  Use this mantra as a way to reflect on your experience of self in each context.

 

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Imagining Your BADASS Self http://imagineself.com/2017/04/badass-self/ Fri, 28 Apr 2017 20:22:04 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5956 Yes, badass! What does this word mean in the context of Imagine Self? What does badass have to do with the soul? With spirituality? With the feminine?

This notion of the badass soul was inspired by a friend who is celebrating a new phase of her life. She is giving herself permission to be just who she is, in the moment, with badass truth, badass beauty and badass goodness. She was no longer willing to worry about appearances, fitting in, or making nice. She had touched her glorious core of her soul and her life and it was badass.

For me, badass is a feminine quality. Not the pink and pretty feminine that does not serve women or men, but the fierce, wise, embracing, wild feminine energy and consciousness all of humanity has been longing for. It is not about physical gender, but the powerful quality of birthing the new and the original.

Badass is beyond the ordinary, free of any defining tribal laws. Not seeking blessing, but bestowing blessing out of fully expressed selfhood. It is the presence of the Divine bursting forth in your consciousness and living in your choices.

Composing Your Badass Soul

A badass soul, your badass soul, no matter your gender, your age, your faith and beliefs can sit down and thoughtfully and uninhibitedly compose three essential self-celebrating documents:

a personal badass manifesto,

a personal badass declaration of independence and  

a personal badass ten commandments.

With a vibrant badass imagination in your thinking you can compose your personal manifesto, your personal statements on the truth of life, the truth of your being and the truth of relationship.

With an enthused badass imagination in your feeling you can declare your independence from past patterns, demands for performance and expectations of conformity. You can free yourself from all inner oppression and live a beautiful and harmonious life.

With a fiery badass imagination of goodness in your willing, you can reveal your inner commandments stating what you will and will not do to bring forth the love that only you can bring.

Live a Badass Life

Make a date with a badass friend and celebrate in badass ways. Make gifts of badass generosity. Tell your stories with badass integrity. Transform with badass courage.

Each time I write the word “badass” I feel like the sun is shining in my heart, full of light, radiating warmth, shining no matter what.  How does this utterly inspiring word make you feel? Badass is real beauty!

My badass wish for you is that you read this post several times and then start doing some badass imagining of yourself for yourself. Write. Question. Write some more. Question some more. Take a long walk. Invite a friend to do this Badass Work with you. Laugh out loud. Have a radical conversation with your angel. Name and vanquish your inner temptations.  Slay your inner demons. Celebrate your greatness. Write your manifesto. Write your declaration of independence. Write your ten commandments. Give yourself all the loving time you need.

Be badass. Celebrate Your Badass Soul.

(I know many readers of this post will love the idea of being badass but will feel anxious about actually showing up in the world as a full expression of your badass self.  My next blog will look at the four amazing reasons for your anxiety.)

Here are some links to great examples and guides for writing your manifesto, your declaration and your commandments. There are lots of others on the net.

http://lauradavis.net/michael-dorenzo-my-personal-ten-commandments/

http://www.brtom.org/assign/decind.html

http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2015/12/31/manifesto/

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What makes you happy? http://imagineself.com/2017/03/what-makes-you-happy/ http://imagineself.com/2017/03/what-makes-you-happy/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 21:45:23 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5877 What is happiness? What makes you happy?

It’s Springtime and I am thinking about happiness. A happiness that is both personal and archetypal.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere and Autumn has just arrived, happiness may not be in the air, but I am sure it is in your heart.

Nature seems happy. The air feels happy.  The world around me is bursting with life and in spite of my busyness and a few challenges, I feel full of good energy and smiles.  Do you?

Wondering about happiness inspired me to write a list poem about what makes me happy and I wanted to share with you.  Perhaps it will inspire you to write your own or maybe you will find yourself nodding yes as you read the causes of my happiness. My list shares what stimulates feelings of happiness in me, in the past, the present and the future. I could/should say “I feel happy when…”

My list details a number of causes of a feeling of happiness for me. Happiness is the effect.  

I am not looking for the causes of pleasure like a great massage, a piece of dark chocolate, buying a great pair of shoes, winning the lottery, my grandchild’s smiling eyes, etc.  I am looking at moral happiness, creative happiness, the kind of happiness that makes angels smile (how do angels smile?). Moral happiness elicits a connection with the divine and the best of being alive.  It also is so very personal and so freeing.

Please, spend some time with happiness and write down your list/poem, then  share what causes your happiness moments in the comments below. And share this message through social media . Let’s see how many causes of moral happiness we can share!

Yes, I am asking you to give your precious time and precious attention to thinking, real deep thinking, about what gives you moral happiness.  Give it a few minutes, you will find yourself experiencing the moral happiness that comes from knowing yourself. Make your soul smile and your angel smile!

Here is my list of some of the causes of my happiness:

It is truth understood.

It is beauty felt.

It is goodness done.

~~~~~~~~~~~

It is an epiphany awakened.

It is a temptation vanquished.

It is a trial undertaken and overcome.

It is a new me that always knew.

~~~~~~~~~~~

It is a question that enlivens forever.

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It is a swing that rises ever higher.

It is a floating on a magical sea.

It is wafting on a warm breeze after the hurricane.

It is the solid coolness of the earth.

It is the budding of my flowering heart.

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It is the pulsing presence of wonder.

It is the soft ringing tone of wisdom.

It is the deep feeling of “all is well” in my body.

It is the willingness to accept necessary discomfort.

It is thinking about what makes me morally happy.

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A New Lent http://imagineself.com/2017/03/a-new-lent/ Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:28:35 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5864 It’s 2017 and the whole world feels like a wilderness where our souls find no practical, moral or spiritual nourishment. What if we see this as a fasting that prepares us for the deed of transforming the future?  Would this be a new Lent? Has the Holy Spirit taken us to this strange and lonely place?

When we enter and dwell in the wilderness of our soul we find the untamed instincts, obsessions and compulsions of our inner lives. There we feel our unfed hungers and unquenched thirsts. We face the ever more seductive temptations of egotism and meet the wild beasts living in our undisciplined and immature natures.

How many of us are standing on our personal mountain tops of prejudice and opinion? How many want the world to be according to how we see it? Does the devil then own our soul so that instead of moral interest we express hatred and supremacy? Should we look into our own soul first before condemning the perspectives of others?

What are the addictive stones in our lives that never turn to bread for our souls? How many promises and wishes for being different or better do we make only to have them fall like sand through our fingers? Do we stay in jobs or relationships thinking if we just keep kneading it or bake it a little longer, it will turn to moist, chewy bread…a meaningful job, a joyful relationship?

How many books and courses have we bought that promised to fulfill our fantasies of happiness if we will just leap from the pinnacles they take us to and yet they fail to deliver a lasting spiritual uplift? Do we still feel we must prove who we are by living lives of no pain? no gravity?

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Lent is not a preparation for Easter! The forty days and the three temptations occur immediately following the Baptism, three years before Holy Week!

This recognition changes the purpose of Lent.  

The New Lent is about preparation for achieving and manifesting that which only you can do.  If you fail to vanquish the temptations, will you ever fulfill your destiny? Will you ever bring your truth, beauty and goodness to the world?

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For me, Lent is about learning to say “No” to what tempts me.

Most of us aren’t very successful saying ” No” when we are weak with our bottomless addictions, our powerful fantasies and our rigid prejudices.  And each of us, if we look at ourselves with objective compassion, can admit to many of these temptations.

With even a minimal mastery of “no!” we find greater freedom, integrity, fulfillment and growth.  Each year the practice of Inner Lent can evolve our command of our own impulses, habits, and anxieties and develop a greater confidence in our ability to liberate our consciousness, our feelings and our deeds.

Inner Lent leads to deeply essential self-knowledge and self-mastery. During Inner Lent we learn to have a healthier, more responsible, more active, and more spiritual relationship to “NO!”

Inner Lent explores the three temptations in their modern soul reality: the temptations that live in our soul as the addictions for turning stones to bread, the fantasies of leaping off pinnacles and the prejudices formed at the mountain tops.  We look at how to understand these temptations, face and vanquish the inner tempters, and center ourselves in the embodiment of our destiny.

What addictions can you overcome and say no to?
What fantasies can you ground with real action? 
What prejudices can you evolve into openness?

Study your addictions, fantasies and prejudices in all areas of your life: health, diet, work, love, parenting, spiritual practice, emotional well-being.  Like Inner Christmas, Inner Lent will give you the wonder, the wisdom, the wit and the will to shape a valued and valuable life.

THE IMAGINE SELF ACADEMY

There are two Inner Lent courses in the Imagine Self Academy:

A Strange and Lonely Place — a 45 minute audio and 7 powerful writing prompts offer you a deep imagination of the inner purpose of 40 days in the wilderness. Learn more.

Your Inner Temptations — 4 audio lessons, 2 bonus lessons, valuable materials and many prompts for journaling.  This course includes A Strange and Lonely Place and an audio on each of the three temptations providing new understanding. The two bonus lessons offer audios that look at the ministering of angels and the 3 ways to vanquish temptation. All content is downloadable. Learn more.

Inner Lent, like all the Imagine Self Holy Imaginations, is not about sin and redemption or being a good Christian. It is about the great commandment, “Oh, Human Soul, Know Thyself!” This is a commandment for all human souls, beyond religious beliefs.  I find the central festivals of the Christian Calendar quite universal in their ability to guide us to this task of imagining self as an earthly and divine being and the great mystery of becoming fully human.

Although the Holy Imagination courses are designed to be taken in the order of the Christian Festivals, they may be taken in any order and at any time of the year.  The order and timing is about your very own inner year!

]]> Before the Love Story http://imagineself.com/2017/02/before-the-love-story/ Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:57:55 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5830 I’ve been wondering about love my whole life. I am just coming to the recognition that I have focused on love story, not love. Love is not a story. Romance is a story.

Love is not adding something to your life or subtracting.

For Valentine’s Day, I want to ask you to spend a few moments being conscious of stillness, gazing and love.

Stillness

Stillness is mysterious, magical, cosmic. Stillness lives behind and embraces all activity.

Be still.

Imagine no attention, no attraction, no arousal, no anxiety, no anticipation.

Imagine no memory, no movement, no mastery.

Imagine no judgment, no intention, no desire.

Simply be still.

Your heart still beats.

Your eyes still see.

Your blood still flows

The grass still grows

The world still turns.

The sun still shines.

While you are still.

Because you are still, you can gaze.

Gazing

In almost all my in-person talks and workshops, I lead a gazing exercise. I ask people to pair up, sit facing each other and for one glorious minute to simply gaze at the other. It is mysterious, magical and cosmic. A gaze perceives all things. Gaze is the receptive awareness living behind all the senses. It does not reach, request or react. A gaze is not about pleasure or pain. A gaze perceives purely and simply.

Imagine gazing with each sense. What happens to smell or taste or touch if they gaze?

Gaze at all things, including yourself. Gaze at your emotions, your thoughts, your intentions.

First, comes stillness, then gazing.

If you still yourself then gaze, you will not experience a story, you will experience love.

Romance

I am not asking you to deny or forego your love stories or chocolate or flowers or sex. Or having an object on which to focus the intensity of your desire.  Romance is romantic! I love it.

But go just for a few moments to the sacred.  It will bring new height, depth and breadth to your love story.

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Lyrics, Nature and My Soul http://imagineself.com/2017/01/lyrics/ http://imagineself.com/2017/01/lyrics/#comments Fri, 13 Jan 2017 15:20:13 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5757 A few days ago, a local non-profit sent out an announcement of an essay contest on Ecofeminism and the intertwining of nature and personal spirituality. I didn’t have time to write an essay, but I was inspired.

Suddenly, I was thinking about song lyrics, nature and the suffering of my soul before I turned 21.

Please reflect on your life and the lines in songs that comforted you with words of nature or spirit. Just single lines. Share them with the the rest of us.

You will be surprised at the feelings.

I focused on the lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein (South Pacific, Oklahoma, Sound of Music and others) as I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and loved American Musicals. I just made a list of 8 lines he wrote, but I could have written down many more.

I also want to mention another song writer and a song he wrote that I first heard right around my 21st birthday. It filled my heart with extraordinary images of feminine wisdom, compassion and mystery and used nature brilliantly. It was “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen. “and the sun pours down like honey.”

And then there will always be “Somewhere over the rainbow…”

Think about the lyrics that gave you the comfort to imagine yourself as a resilient, wonderful being of nature and spirit when you were young, alone and vulnerable. Please share them in the comments on the blog.

If you journal, you may want to write a paragraph or a page on why each of these single lines meant so much to you.

Here is what I wrote…

Oscar Hammerstein, Nature and My Soul… Two things nurtured and comforted my developing soul as a very lonely, traumatized adolescent, singing and nature. Hammerstein’s lyrics were so rich in natural metaphors that I could sing my heart out and feel totally embraced by the world of Nature. As an adult, I look at nature with such reverence, awe and intimacy. The intimacy is a direct result of Hammerstein’s lyrics.

“How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”
“Here am I your special island.”
“At the end of a storm is a golden sky and the sweet silver song of a lark.”
“…and watch a hawk making lazy circles in the sky.”
“Ol’ man river … you just keep rollin’ along”
“Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever”
“We kiss in a shadow, we hide from the moon”
“And somewhere a bird who is bound to be heard is throwing her heart at the sky.”

I could make a list so long. Every line reveals the ability of nature to hug a young woman’s soul and tell her to live in beauty.
Now 50 years later the lyrics still enliven my soul and join my heart with all of nature.

All right…I just took 15 minutes out of my busy day to recollect a small part of my relationship to nature and song.

Back to work. Gotta keep the wave upon the sand!

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The Most Intimate Gift http://imagineself.com/2016/12/the-most-intimate-gift/ Thu, 22 Dec 2016 16:26:21 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5748 What could be a more intimate gift than a gift you give your soul? What does the self give the self?

If your soul were to make a list of gifts it wants/needs/deserves from you over the year what would be on that list? If your soul made a list of gifts it wants from your angel or God, Allah, Christ, Sophia, Buddha, Lakshmi, or another Being of Divinity would the list be different? Take some time now and write your lists.

Are you a bit amazed at this? I am.  It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? The organ of inner development (moral, spiritual, self development) is the soul. The soul requires many gifts to unfold, evolve and flourish.

Did any of the gifts your soul wants surprise you? I hope so.

The 12 Intimate Gifts of the Holy Nights

For 12 years I have been giving YOUR soul the gifts of the Inner Christmas Messages — 12 gifts each Christmas.  But this year it is your turn to give your soul these 12 gifts. I will write the messages, but you will need to subscribe and make a contribution.  Then give them to your soul. They are no longer gifts from me. Now they come from you.

The Inner Christmas Messages are the intimate gift you give your soul at Christmas. Understand the messages are like a box of chocolate truffles…the gift is only received when you bite into the truffle and you taste the inspiration.  You need to willfully take each message into your soul and let it melt into thoughts and feelings of your own.

This year, the box of soul chocolates contains Twelve Comforts. A comforted soul has an infinite capacity to engage both heaven and earth. More on this in the introductory message.

Don’t forget to subscribe.

Just to be clear:

You must subscribe now to receive the Inner Christmas Messages this year. You will not receive the messages unless you subscribe no matter how many years you have been receiving the messages. Subscribe NOW. 

The Inner Christmas Messages subscription requires a contribution. This can be any amount. So far contributions have ranged between $1 and $50 USD.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inner Christmas. Click here.

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Christmas Never Changes…Do You? http://imagineself.com/2016/12/christmas-never-changes/ Sat, 17 Dec 2016 23:08:38 +0000 http://imagineself.com/?p=5742 My daughter just came by with a stack of presents for her children. We will wrap them together Monday afternoon.

I’ve ordered the plum pudding for the plum pudding trifle we have every Christmas. Too yummy for words and so easy.  I’ve posted the recipe at the bottom of this message. Did you know that this plum pudding has thirteen core ingredients (representing Jesus Christ and the 12 Disciples).

My granddaughter, Sabine, almost 3, decorated my little tree and I’ve already read her The Nutcracker at least five times.

Yesterday I took my grandson, Edon, who’s in first grade at the Emerson Waldorf School, to see the school faculty perform the traditional Oberufer play, The Shepherd’s Play.

I have several Pandora stations and Amazon Prime Music playlists with Christmas Music so familiar carols fill my apartment as I work. How many times can I hear Greensleeves? How many variations are there of this carol?

Christmas always feels the same: Cherishing relationships. indulging in riches of decorations, food, music. The retelling of the Story of the Nativity. I love all of it because it is all so familiar, nothing really changes outwardly.

But Christmas is the beginning of the Holy Nights and every year the Holy Nights’ experience changes and I change.

But the Holy Nights Change Me!

Through the changing questions and imaginations living in the Holy Nights, I change.

My soul changes and my body changes. And I also realize my experience and feeling of my humanity and my individuality changes. All in good ways.

What are the good ways I change?

  • My soul becomes more innocent. I practice wondering at myself. Wondering through a lens that is ground by the angels. So each year I find my capacity to know truth, feel beauty and do good seems to shine more brightly…fewer scratches, less cloudiness.
  • My body seems more mine and much more harmonious.  My soul and my body feel more intimately necessary to each other. Incarnation and embodiment feel more real.
  • I become more and more aware of the bond I have with every other human being (regardless of who they voted for or if they left their homeland or tried to blow it up or they cut in front of my car and made me slam on my brakes.). So I stop judging others on how different they are from me or how they behave or think or vote.  We are the Family of Humanity. I learn to love more.
  • And I become more aware of how I am Lynn and there has never been another Lynn and never will be.  And no one will ever know all of me no matter how much they love me.  I will never know all of me. I learn to embrace my solitude and vast, unknowable complexity of my individuality and I find more freedom to be me.

And each year I feel a little more awake to my spiritual core, the gifts of divine beings, and the mysteries beyond the perceptions of my senses.

Do the Holy Nights change you?

Don’t forget to subscribe to Inner Christmas. Click here.

 

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